Game 71: Canadiens keep on tumbling

Sens’ Nick Foligno celebrates his goal while Canadiens’  Christopher Higgins can’t look Thursday night in Ottawa. Jean Levac, Canwest News Service

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AUDIO:  Bob Gainey   Jaroslav Halak  Guillaume Latendresse  Maxim Lapierre

The Canadiens scored first on Thursday night, but they didn’t score often enough as they lost another game, 5-4 to the Ottawa Senators. The Canadiens have now lost four straight games, but remain in seventh spot in the Eastern Conference.

After Guillaume Latendresse opened the scoring two minutes into the game, the Senators responded with three goals, including two on the power play, as Carey Price could do little to stop the Senators attack.

With Matt D’Agostini in the penalty box, Nick Foligno scored on a rebound to tie the game 1-1. Later in the period, with Mike Komisarek in the box on a questionable call, Jason Spezza scored a nifty goal that Price should have stopped.

Before the end of the frame, Spezza scored his second of the period when he redirected a shot from the point. The play was reviewed for a high stick, but the goal was accepted.

With the Canadiens trailing 3-1, Alex Tanguay scored early in the second period to narrow the lead to 3-2. But less than two minutes later, Jarkko Ruutu gave Ottawa a two-goal lead again when he put a backhand shot top shelf over Price’s shoulder.

That was it for Price, who was replaced by Jaroslav Halak.

The Canadiens narrowed the lead to 4-3 when Latendresse scored his second goal, beating Brian Elliott between the legs with a backhand of his own 10:04 into the period.

Latendresse, in his second game back since suffering a should injury February 1, played well after being reunited with Maxim Lapierre and Tom Kostopoulos. The line was one of the team’s best until Latendresse went down with the injury.

But four minutes later, Chris Phillips gave Ottawa another two-goal lead when his blast from the point beat a screened Halak for a 5-3 Sens lead.

The Canadiens didn’t quit though and narrowed the lead before the end of the period when Roman Hamrlik fired a shot from the point that appeared to change direction and eluded Elliott with only 42 seconds left in the period.

With 32 shots on net, it marked the first time the Canadiens have taken more than 30 shots on goal under Bob Gainey. The team is now 1-2-2 under their GM/coach. But the Canadiens were still outshot, allowing 39 shots by the Senators.

Once again, the Canadiens power play came up empty in four chances, which was the difference against the Senators, who scored on both of their power-play chances.

The Canadiens return home to play the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

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